The Best Foods You Need When Bugging Out

Giurgi C.
By Giurgi C. February 11, 2020 12:26

The Best Foods You Need When Bugging Out

With prepping and survival comes bugging out and a bug-out-bag. Bugging out is simply quickly fleeing the area that is under threat to go to another place, that you have hopefully planned to go to. It is always a good idea to know where you will be bugging out to and to have a defined plan.

It is also essential that you have some sort of bug-out bag. It is normally designed to keep you going for 3 days, but some people like to pack for longer amounts of time. Now if you are older, there are special conditions you need to consider, such as weight of the pack, the difficulty of the journey to your bug out destination, and most importantly the food you will be bringing with you.

When it comes to the food, a good balance of weight and calories is extremely important. These foods below are on my list:

Powdered Peanut Butter

The Best Foods You Need When Bugging OutPeanut butter is number one on the list, as it has lots of calories. Two options are available when it comes to peanut butter.

You can choose either the classic peanut butter, or even powdered peanut butter.

The powdered peanut butter does have a very long shelf life, which is 4-5 years if sealed properly. This is something that you definitely need.

If you choose to go with the classic creamy peanut butter, the best option is MREs. MREs have a unique packing and are very easy to carry around, as compared to the commercial peanut butter in its round and often heavy packaging. The MREs are also weather resistant and made for difficult conditions that probably will occur when SHTF. The amount of calories per 2 tbsp. is 188 calories. This makes it perfect for a high calorie power-up.

Related: How to Make Powdered Eggs

Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is one of the best foods in the entire world for a bug-out bag. It is dried, has packaging to keep moisture out, and is super light.

Jerky actually originated from a South American native tribe that was called Quechua. They called the jerky “ch’arki” or “to burn meat”. Later Spanish Conquistadors seen what the tribe had been doing and adopted the same principles and called their jerky “Charqui”. From there, it spread and many places adopted the same practices.

We now know it as jerky. Pick a flavor that suits you and put that in your bag. One large piece of jerky has about 82 calories.

Rice or Mashed Potatoes

The Best Foods You Need When Bugging OutEating foods with high calories may fill you, you think, but most of the time they don’t. A great option for this is rice and mashed potatoes, as they are high in calories and filling.

As to what type of rice and potatoes to pack, go with instant. Instant rice and mashed potatoes are light and you can choose to put them in little bags or in a light Tupperware container.

Be sure to bring some sort of bowl and water to make your instant potato or rice in. Instant rice and mashed potatoes can last up to about 10-15 years.

Instant potatoes have about 97 calories in just 29 grams. Instant rice  has about 170 calories in one cup of cooked rice.

Related: Bean and Rice Survival Soup; Easy and Adaptable Recipe

Tuna and Chicken in a Pouch

This is one of the best foods I could think of to put in your bug-out bag. It hits pretty much every checkpoint: decent amount of calories, extremely light, and tastes pretty good.

These can be found in pretty much every grocery store and are very cheap as well, going for about a dollar in many places. In just a ¼ cup there is about 157 calories. Their shelf life is about three years if sealed properly.

Freeze Dried Food

Freeze dried food is a given when it comes to packing light. It is superbly light and packs a ton of calories that you wouldn’t think is there. These can be found in many grocery stores and many different options are available as well. As far as calories, the macaroni and cheese, for example, has 320 calories in 1 cup. It also has a shelf life of about 25 years, which is more than enough for your bug-out bag.

Related: 50 Foods to Dehydrate for Your Stockpile

Ramen Noodles

The Best Foods You Need When Bugging OutIf you have ever had Ramen noodles, you will know that they are super light. So as long as you have water that you could boil you should be alright.

Ramen noodles have 188 calories in one serving. They have a shelf life of anywhere between 2 to 12 months, depending on the conditions it is left in.

These noodles are also high in sodium, but that is not necessarily a bad thing if you have been sweating a lot. Getting back that sodium from your difficult journey would be a great idea.

Pop Tarts

This may seem odd to bring but pop tarts are extremely lightweight and have 108 calories per ounce. They can also be eaten straight out of the package.

Trail Mix

The Best Foods You Need When Bugging OutTrail mix is a great food to bring, as it gives you a mix of food groups and a power boost.

Some trail mixes even have chocolate, or you can make a mix of your own. The calorie amount is about 693 in one cup.

Related: The Lost Ninja Superfood

Candy Bars

Yes, these are not the healthiest but they do provide a lot of calories and are lightweight. Candy bars have about 209-261 calories each.

Instant Oatmeal

Instant oatmeal not only tastes pretty good, but are also so light. You can carry multiple packages in your bug-out bag. These have about 151 calories in one packet.

Sunflower Seeds

These are little, lightweight, quick to consume, and pack a good amount of calories. They also taste so good. Sunflower seeds have 205 calories in a quarter cup.

You may also like:

The SHTF Diet: Minimum Food And Water Supply For 3 Months

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Is Canned Tuna Still Safe to Stockpile 7 Years After Fukushima?

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Giurgi C.
By Giurgi C. February 11, 2020 12:26
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27 Comments

  1. The Duke of Texas February 11, 14:58

    Don’t forget that Green Beret favorite, Bullion Cubes, chicken and beef. Good for flavoring anything from stinky
    water to rice. Lipton instant soup packs are just right for
    a canteen cup. Both fit well in a pocket as “Pocket Rations”.

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  2. BeReady February 11, 15:09

    Thank you for all this great info! The world is a much different place from my childhood years. We should all start thinking outside the box aka our “comfort zone”. Thank you “Askaprepper” for providing an invaluable service!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Rucksack Rob February 11, 15:33

    After 24 years in the Army, all in Combat Arms, I learned many “tricks of the trade”. My favorite is carrying two oatmeal packs in one ‘freezer weight’ zip-lock baggie. Instead of dirtying up your canteen cup cooking your ‘mush’, just heat/boil the water in your cup and add to the zip-lock, knead the mix and in 3-4 minutes, “Oatmeal in a Bag”! (If you happen to add a little too much water, oh well…now you have oatmeal soup. Still taste good.)
    The same can be done with a half of a Raman Noodles and a pouch of Tuna or chicken. (Shrimp Ramen and Tuna or any of the Chicken Ramen’s and a pouch of Chicken.

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  4. Miss Kitty February 11, 16:12

    Of course, the most important thing to pack is water, and a way to harvest water on the road. Since most of the products in this article need to be reconstituted, water is a must.

    You can get small packets of pre-seasoned mashed potatoes for about a dollar. Since it unlikely that you will have butter, salt and milk for mixing up food on the go, these offer a reasonably tasty alternative, and just need hot water. Each packet makes about two generous servings for a quick meal, and can be folded and put into a Ziploc bag if you only make a portion of it.

    Dehydrated foods like Ramen, dried soup mixes, pasta, dehydrated chili, etc. can be put into a thermos with boiling water at night and eaten once they have cooked in the thermos overnight. This will save fuel, time, and help get you going early the next day.
    I would also add dried fruit, for needed nutrition and the sugar energy they provide, plus they can be eaten as is.

    I would just take a jar (plastic) of peanut butter without messing around with dehydrated…you can eat it straight from the jar, it has a long shelf life and it’s cheap pound for pound. It also has fat which will be needed in a shtf situation which is lacking in the powdered version, and you can add some to your ramen for a makeshift peanut sauce .

    I would suggest also bringing instant coffee or tea bags. Most of us are used to having caffeine, and will be going through withdrawal at a time when we need to be on our toes. Trader Joe’s has an excellent instant coffee for about six dollars a jar… it’s the closest to fresh brewed that I’ve had. Jars are glass, but you can transfer the contents to another container easily enough, adding sugar and powdered creamer if you want. Cocoa packets are good too.

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    • Old Stumps February 11, 17:24

      Cafe Bustelo has instant coffee in a single serving pack for 6 oz of hot water. Not bad coffee but it will work.

      Reply to this comment
    • anonymous February 12, 12:43

      When I eat ramen, I normally use only half the spice pack (to reduce sodium) and save the packet from the next package for inclusion into my hiking kit. Same amount mixed with a quart of water in the summer helps me stay energized. Not a meal, but gives my legs some extra spark when I need it.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Lou February 11, 17:13

    Heating plastic bags gives you bad chemicals, Rucksack.

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    • Rucksack Rob February 11, 21:23

      While I don’t disagree with you but: A) the industry has removed most of or all of the PCB’s and other such chem’s in ‘Food Grade’ plastic, B) I don’t believe putting 150 degree water in plastic is hot enough to leach any chem’s into your food, and C) I’m almost 63 years young, been doing this for over 40 years, not on a daily basis but when in the bush, and I’m still doing well in that regard, not to say thats proof enough, but your concern is taken into account. Thanks

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 11, 21:49

      Once again, we are talking about such a serious situation that we must leave the sanctuary of our homes and take to the road. The chemicals that might possibly be given off by putting hot water in the bag are the least of your worries in that kind of a situation. We are not talking about twenty or thirty years of continuous use in that manner, we are talking about a short period of time and perhaps ten or twenty uses maximum. Finding water that you can purify is significantly more important than the minute amounts of “bad” chemicals you might absorb from the hot plastic bag.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Sabel February 11, 20:08

    Also, you can carry the K-cup pods of hot chocolate, tea and hot cider. They keep forever if they aren’t punctured. You don’t NEED the electrical appliance as long as you can boil water or carry hot water in a thermos. The cider won’t provide any caffeine but it does have a fair amount of sugar and it tastes and feels great when you are cold and tired. As for tea, a handful of tea bags and a few packets of sugar will fit into a snack-sized zippered bag and can be carried in a pocket. I always carry some in my jacket and vest pockets since I don’t drink coffee but I AM a “tea snob.” 8^}

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  7. Armin February 11, 21:35

    I’d just like to make a quick note about peanut butter. One of my favourite things. IN MODERATION! I was wondering how long peanut butter would last in a sealed jar stored in a cool dry place. The peanut butter itself lasts almost forever if stored properly. But no matter how diligent you are storing this stuff after about five years or so the peanut oil itself starts to go rancid. Starting to go through my older peanut butter now and the oil is just starting to turn. It’s still quite edible. Doesn’t make you sick. The taste is just that little bit off. Just put some canned cranberries on the peanut butter sandwich and it’s all good. Or your jam or topping of choice. Eating it like this gives you that important vitamin C in the winter when it’s needed the most. For me that cranberry and peanut butter first thing in the morning jump-starts my metabolism without filling me up too much.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck February 12, 03:39

      Armin: How old is the peanut butter you are now sampling and where did you have it stored? Was it in an area where the temperature was able to fluctuate more than ± 20 degrees through the year? Was it insulated at all? Did you transfer it to glass jars or store it in the plastic jars that it is sold in?

      As I posted some time ago talking about food storage, I had some peanuts that I had not stored carefully, but left them sitting in a plastic jar on the kitchen counter. They turned rancid after about six month to a year and while they might not have made me sick, the flavor was such that I did not want to chew them any further than the first bite and immediately spit the mouthful and the rest of the peanuts into the garbage. Before dumping the jar, I smelled it and while it didn’t smell especially vile, it definitely was an off smell, kind of musty smelling. They didn’t smell nearly as bad as they tasted.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Govtgirl February 11, 21:49

    Looking over my emergency food supply, I see a shortage of high quality protein. I am in the process of correcting this. I may be a Neanderthal, but seeing the world go plant-based only strengthens my belief that an armed and bigger, stronger, faster carnivorous populace is important to national security.

    Reply to this comment
    • Not1word February 14, 01:29

      I’ve been buying canned fish for some time now. Usually it will be the Polar brand herring fillets in either tomato or mustard sauce. They’re not the finest fare going, but they have the protein and calories which we’re after, and can be mixed with any number of other carbohydrates.

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  9. left coast chuck February 11, 21:57

    I recently discovered that one can purchase Spam in a single container. It comes in a foil package. It is larger than a slice from the canned Spam about 3.5 – 4 inches on a side. Enough Spam for quite a hearty portion for one person.

    It is an expensive way to buy Spam, but then beef jerky if purchased is an expensive way to buy beef too.

    Just thought I would mention that in passing.

    Oatmeal, both steel cut and regular oatmeal can be cooked overnight in a thermos. The cooking of oatmeal overnight was discussed in a post sometime early last year or perhaps even earlier. It was an article about cooking food in a thermos. I had experimented with cooking oatmeal in a steel thermos and reported my results. It works quite well and the oatmeal is completely cooked and still hot the next morning.

    Cooking oatmeal that way allows one to prepare the early morning meal the night before and it can be eaten while walking or perhaps more dangerously, while driving a car. Can’t do it while riding a bike unless you can still ride with no hands but that is tricky if you are hauling a load on the bike. With two thermoses one can have a hot meal and a hot beverage in the morning without restarting a fire and save considerable time getting started in the morning,.

    Reply to this comment
    • Rucksack Rob February 11, 23:56

      Left Coast Chuck, your comments are always thought provoking, useful and insightful.
      If I remember from before, you too have years of experience behind you and those experiences are always appreciated when shared. Thank you.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck February 12, 03:47

        Thanks for the kind words, Rob. It isn’t that I am so smart, but as you pointed out, it comes from lots of mistakes, too often repeated many times over until I finally caught on. Some philosophers call it life experience; other more hard-nosed folk call it the lessons taught by the school of hard knocks.

        The founder of Motel Six had a saying, “The difference between school and life is that school teaches you a lesson and then gives you a test whereas life gives you a test that teaches you a lesson.”

        Reply to this comment
  10. Reggie February 12, 00:56

    Canned sardines, canned meats like Vienna sausages spam, Mountain House dehydrated foods, MREs, Instant coffee, sealed coffee beans, sugar, dry coffee creamers, honey. Nutella and Peanut butter. B and M canned bread. Pilot crackers. Tea bags. Ive added hoe made hard tack. Small candy like Peanut Chews, Bit O Honeys, Hershey bars. Dont forgot a small stove, a fire starter kit, I recently added a small foldable aluminum windscreen for my stove..Water purification tablets, small foldable can openers.

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  11. IvyMike February 12, 01:43

    There was a time in my life when I would fast 3-7 days for religious reasons, no calories, just water. I was around people of varying physical type who also practiced fasting. If you have sufficient drinking water you will be hungry for the 1st 2 days w/o food, but then your blood sugar will come into proper balance and your body will start drawing on your fat stores for the fuel (glucose) it needs and you will feel great and have abundant energy for another 5 to 30 days depending on how fat you are. In my wilderness backpacking days I knew my main load was water and I would eat only one meal a day after setting up camp, so I was happy to carry the weight of a few cans of pork and beans and Wolf Brand Chili. To this day I tend to eat 1 meal a day in the evening (tonite baked chicken thigh with skin and bone, herb crusted, with green cabbage sauteed in butter with ground pork and sweet onion), 3 cups of coffee for breakfast and maybe a fistful of goobers for lunch, meanwhile working with shovel and hoe outdoors repairing irrigation systems…
    As other posters have noted, drinking water is the absolute need you have, if the world goes to the Devil you ought to expect to get a little hungry now and then. And oatmeal? Oatmeal tastes worse than even Spam and jerky and varmint cooked on a green stick. CARE discovered when they sent CARE packages to famine areas of Africa in the 60’s that people would starve because oatmeal wasn’t considered a food. mares eat oats and does eat oats and lambs eat lots of little daisies…

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    • Miss Kitty February 12, 04:15

      I thought little lambs ate ivy. A kid’ll eat ivy, too. Wouldn’t you?😘

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    • left coast chuck February 12, 19:27

      Mike: Obviously not a drop of Scot’s blood flows in yer veins. Oatmeal called parritch was the lifeblood of Scotsmen and women. Lots of fiber to keep one regular, with carbs that are slowly absorbed by the body to keep the energy levels at a more even keel rather than to spike rapidly with an equally rapid fall off. Ye can add dried or fresh fruit to oatmeal, sugar, honey — weird as it sounds, I have heard of folk adding peanut butter to oatmeal. Although I have never tried it, I would assume one might even add meat to oatmeal to provide protein.

      While total calories taken in are what determine whether we lose or gain weight, as I understand things, dietitians recommend the largest meal at the beginning of the day rather than at the end of the day. The large meal consumed upon rising allows one to perform longer without a significant drop off in energy. A large meal at the end of the day merely makes it more difficult to sleep at night.

      Of course, each of us is an individual despite that there are only two basic models. In this country we come from every country on the globe each of us with a different genetic makeup no matter how insignificant it may seem at first glance.

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      • IvyMike February 13, 01:17

        I’m German/Irish, when I’m drunk I don’t know whether to hit somebody’s fist with my jaw or start a Blitzkrieg.
        Your comment about genetics having a big influence on health and weight gain is one of the great underappreciated facts, a person has to be open to everything in finding what they need. Cool.
        I haven’t tried it but I think if you boiled some oatmeal and blended it up in a food processor you could use it to tape and float sheet rock.
        Talk of bugging out, what if it ain’t a sunny day? The last four days here have been 42F with steady rain totaling up to 4 inches. Good definition of a Prepper is The Refugee Who Left First.

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        • left coast chuck February 13, 05:51

          Well, considering that in days of yore, wallpaper paste was made from wheat flour which is one reason why during the WWII siege of Leningrad the Russians scraped wallpaper from the walls in order to scrape the old paste from the wall and the paper because it was made from wheat, I suspect you are probably correct about oatmeal making a reasonably good paste.

          Bugging out in a downpour might be better than waiting for clear weather. Chances of running into zombies in really crappy weather might be greatly lessened. One might not make as great a distance each day if on foot or bike, but better to be safe than speedy. Certainly the noise of one’s passage would be greatly attenuated in heavy weather. Most folks just hunker down in bad weather. They don’t expect anyone to be out and about and thus are less alert than they might be on a clear, warm day. Keep in mind it is not necessary to practice to be miserable. You can be perfectly miserable the very first time. You have said you plan on hunkering down, so you might practice that technique during the inclement weather. Or practice maintaining a more alert watch, bearing in mind what I said about it possibly being a time of lessened alertness.

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          • IvyMike February 14, 02:22

            Moving in rainy weather is an advantage, cover and concealment, reduces noise and washes your scent down. I was sheltering from a hard rain under a full to the ground mountain cedar once, sitting still in a green rain parka, and a mama coyote and pup ducked in and sat 10 feet from me w/o ever realizing I was there.
            We just spent a week camping with 2 days of rain and snow and nights in the 20s, be it sunny and 105 or pouring rain, I love working and playing outdoors. But i don’t see many other people out in the weather. We spent 4 nites early last spring camped out in some of the worst flooding rains Eastern Oklahoma has seen. Sweety asked me later, why the eff did we do that, told her she now knew we could spend 4 days in a tent and not kill each other and that I could cook a pretty good chicken dinner over wet hickory. I think there is a chance, and know it is possible, that at some point in our lifetimes there will be a systemic collapse of society and that the time to learn to live w/o a roof over your head is now. Which is the whole point.
            I admire the reading you’ve done, how are all these semi-literate young people going to get along w/o us, if they do in fact manage to outlive us?
            I have never seen a field of oats in Texas,really.

            Reply to this comment
    • JAMMIN May 12, 01:08

      I am a nurse and very proactive in natural and holistic health and living. If one chooses to fast or finds themselves in a starvation situation, it is imperative that they not engage in physical labor/work or exercise. If you do your body will begin cannabilizing your muscle tissue. It won’t wait until it has used up all your fat reserves but take the muscle right along with the fat. You must rest and take it very easy to prevent muscle loss, and by the way, your heart is pure muscle. In a bug out situation where you must walk to your destination with little or no food, take it very slow and easy. Do not push yourself. IvyMike is right about feeling great and energetic while fasting, but that’s the reason people get into trouble and crash. Just watch some Naked and Afraid episodes and you will see it in action.

      Reply to this comment
  12. Govtgirl May 12, 02:06

    Jammin, thank you for this. I will take it to heart. Others on this site should too as we are, most likely, a fairly stubborn, hard-headed bunch.

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  13. Miss Kitty May 12, 11:47

    Stubborn and hard-headed…us? The very angels of sweetness and light and souls of cooperation?🤣😂🤣

    Joking aside, Jammin is right. There are far too many people who feel that they’re entitled to special treatment “because”. Case in point, an ice cream parlor in Mashpee, Ma opened this past weekend and had to close the next day because people didn’t want to call ahead for their orders, wait in line, wear masks, or be civil to the employees – one man swore and cursed out a seventeen years old girl so bad she quit on the spot in tears. At an ice cream shop… imagine if they were selling a vital necessity?

    People suck…. don’t count on the bulk of them for anything but giving you grief.

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